Blood vessels, veins, in your body that facilitate the return of blood from your extremities back to the heart. Venous insufficiency is a when the flow of blood through your veins is resisted. It can be caused by many conditions of the veins, particularly by varicose veins.”

Causes of Venous Insufficiency

In normal veins, there is an unimpeded flow of blood from your extremities back to your heart. Valves inside your veins of the legs that stop the backflow of blood. Venous insufficiency is when the forward flow through the veins is blocked, as in a blood clot, or if there is backward leakage of blood flow through damaged valves. In many cases of venous insufficiency, patients have both obstruction of forward flow and backward leakage of the veins.  Blood Clots and Varicose Veins are the most common causes of venous insufficiency. Additionally weakness of the leg muscles that help squeeze blood forward may also contribute to venous insufficiency.

Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency

  • Edema
  • Skin discoloration
  • Prominent varicose veins or ropy veins
  • Skin ulcers
  • Aching, burning, or throbbing sensations in the legs and feet
  • Cramping
  • Leg weakness

Medications and immobility can also affect the muscles and veins of the legs. Patients should also consider signs and symptoms of venous insufficiency before traveling or having surgery.

Risk factors for Venous Insufficiency

  • Older age
  • Varicose veins
  • Previous Blood Clot
  • Family History
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Weak Muscles
  • Pregnancy
  • Injury to the legs
  • Cancer

How is Venous Insufficiency treated

A decision of treatment options for venous insufficiency depends on what condition is causing it. Prescription-wear compression stockings is the most common form of treatment. These special elastic stockings, or tet hoses, apply pressure at the ankle and lower leg and improve venous blood flow and reduce leg swelling.

Additional help with the leg swelling caused by venous insufficiency, your doctor may also tell you to keep your legs elevated above your heart when you are lying down. They may also suggest that you get more exercise such as walking. Weight loss can also be very helpful for treatment of venous insufficiency for patients who are overweight. Lastly ones with venous insufficiency caused by blood clots, your doctor commonly prescribe blood thinners. This treatment works on existing blood clots and also prevents additional clots from forming.

Prevention of Venous Insufficiency

You can help prevent venous insufficiency with the following steps:  Maintain a healthy body weight; lose weight if you are overweight.  Exercise regularly.  If you smoke, try to quit. Smoking is harmful to the circulation.  Protect your legs from injury.  Do not stand or sit in one place or position for very long; get up and move.